MAYS LANDING — “Lifelong learner” Frankie Williams’ alma maters enshrined his memory Friday in dedicating a road and tree on Atlantic Cape Community College’s campus to the state trooper killed on duty.
“Trooper Williams made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the people of New Jersey, and we have an obligation to honor him,” Rutgers University-Camden Provost Michael Palis said at the ceremony.
Williams, 31, of Egg Harbor Township, was killed Dec. 5 when a driver suffering a medical emergency hit his patrol car on Route 55 in Millville. The driver also died.
Williams had been on the job just shy of a year. He earned his associate’s degree in criminal justice from Atlantic Cape Community College in 2009 and his bachelor’s from Rutgers-Camden in 2012. He was working on his master’s degree, which was posthumously awarded in May.
His wife, Kimberly, and mother, Victoria Williams, and family, troopers, friends and faculty attended the ceremony outside of the Rutgers Lifelong Learning Center.
“I feel honored,” Victoria Williams said.
She said she is proud of all her son’s accomplishments but not surprised by them. Williams, of Atlantic City, said her son was “a gentleman all the time.” He believed in helping others and was a proud college graduate, she said.
“I always told Frankie, surround yourself with great people. You never know when you might need them; you never know when I might need them,” Williams said.
Atlantic Cape President Barbara Gaba said Williams will be forever remembered with the renamed Frankie Williams Way — the side street from the main college road to the Rutgers building.
“He exemplified the qualities we hope our alumni would bring to the community,” Gaba said.
A scholarship fund in his name is accepting donations, she said.
Dean Wyks, a professor at both Atlantic Cape and Rutgers who taught Williams, described his former student as “impressive.”
“He had an easy air about him,” said Wyks, descriging Williams as caring, giving and selfless. “Frankie had a desire to make the world a better place.”
Wyks said Williams would likely be embarrassed by the attention, but it is well deserved.
“Frankie was on a mission. He was in pursuit of his goals. He recognized value in education in helping to achieve his goals,” Wyks said.
State Police Lt. Col. Patrick Callahan said he didn’t know Williams personally, but Williams exemplified the selflessness of officers who “run toward things that most people in the world are running away from.”
He said the street is a fitting reminder to “do things the Frankie Williams way.”
“That is truly the best way we can honor him,” he said.
Trooper Michael Korejko was a friend and mentor to Williams after he joined the State Police.
“His ceaseless devotion to education and pride in this institution is the very fabric that weaved his success,” he said. “I bet what Frankie didn’t realize is when he was getting an education, he was giving one, too.”